A long time ago, when we were fairly new empty nesters, we were having a conversation with a friend of ours. He traveled a lot with his work and said that one morning when he woke up, he found himself on a fold out sofa bed in his sons apartment’s living room. While he laid there orienting himself as to where he was, he wondered where all the years had gone? His story gave me a smile because he really was surprised to find himself in that time and place not having fully realized the journey! This is how time slips away unnoticed.
This is also how it goes with raising kids. From the moment they are born, our life seems to go into a fast forward mode. When it came to our own adult life, we have been so incredibly busy, the words “savor the moment” simply came down to wishful thinking. That is, until all the kids had flown the nest and we were left with mountains of extra time to fill. Savor….how do we “savor” something with which we have had no previous experience?
Our granddaughter graduates high school this weekend. As I look at her and see her excitement over her next big step of leaving home for college, I am sure that her parents are filled with a lot of conflicting feelings.
Of course, they are happy for her because as parents we want our kids to be happy and to advance in life on their own terms, remembering our own launch into life so many years before. On the other hand, they are facing the beginning of their own nest emptying out. For the first time they are facing the fact that she is going off into a world where her parameters are no longer the same as their own.
We parents live under an illusion of having control which comes to us when our children are born in a very vulnerable state, totally dependent on us for survival. We nervously step up to the challenge, making so many decisions for this newly minted baby. Then as the baby begins to grow, they begin making their own decisions while we still have a modicum of control in their lives. We encourage them and guide their choices while we still have some influence over them.
The years go by and before we realize just how quickly it has all gone, we watch them walking across a stage to receive their diploma…a certification of completion which says they have earned the right to choose which path they will begin their new independent life.
Long ago I read something that said our children are placed into our safekeeping but are only on loan to us from God. They do not belong to us. They belong to God. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. I was so aware of this when our daughter was in the hospital and so very sick! Prayers poured forth laced with heavy bargaining, though I know that is not how we should do things. I know who is in charge of the universe and it is not me! I prayed for her recovery and for a renewed contract to us on the loan He granted to us of this beautiful and beloved human we brought into the world.
I was listening to a lecture recently where a woman said that a person should not be afraid of death nor should we be afraid of life. We should not make our children afraid either. Living life fully means to embrace whatever comes and to face life fearlessly. Life contains adventure and risk and we should not go though life with the hand brake on. Without doubt, there is a lot of darkness in this world, but there is also a lot of light. As we seek the light we should also BE the light for others, sharing our knowledge and love and wisdom.
Our granddaughter is a light filled personality. She is going to be such a positive addition to the world with her kind and sensible ways. Her parents did a very good job of raising her.
No wonder they are so proud of her.
No wonder she loves them dearly.
The world needs people like her and I am grateful and delighted with how she has turned out! She has the mindset of giving back to the world and has already been doing so for a while now.
The generations march ever forward, each seeking their own way. I am glad we have been blessed with a life long enough to watch not only how our children’s lives have evolved and how they contribute to society, but so too, our grandchildren.. We are in the spectator section once again, watching and cheering them on!
Whether we wake up on our child’s sofa bed in an apartment or in a guest bedroom in their home, the operative word is guest. We have had to learn what that word means. A perfect guest is someone who blends into the life of their Host. We mind our manners, our words and our actions. We are on their turf now and they get to call the shots!
I find myself wondering how our son will feel someday in the not so distant future on that first morning he wakes up in his daughters home and realizes he has now become a guest…a loved guest, a wanted guest, but a guest nonetheless. 🙂 Only then will he understand the journey we have been on ourselves, each generation passing the torch to the upcoming generation.